'Kingdom Hearts' prologue demo hints at Aqua's return from darkness

In long running video game franchises, stories are created, evolve and culminate in a fantastical finish that sometimes hint at future adventures. But there are side stories or consequences in those stories that never get fully told, despite involving important characters.

At a Square Enix demo event in New York, I was able to play a new game, “Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage,” part of “Kingdom Hearts II.8” that also includes a high definition remaster of “Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance” and a video of cinematics called “Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover,” which tells the tale of the Foretellers.

In “Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage,” a character, Aqua, is lost to the darkness and seeks a way out. She was trapped in the Realm of Darkness during “Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep” after she saves Terra.

During the demo, Aqua is armed with a keyblade while seeking to restore a bridge to a distant castle. By seeking out clock pieces, she works toward rebuilding the bridge by turning back time.

The game uses many of the same combat actions and spells as previous “Kingdom Hearts” games. A notable addition is the ability to power up a status bar to change the style of attacks, which opens up some pretty impressive moves.

The game fills in the story in preparation for “Kingdom Hearts 3” and also has the stylized title of “Final Chapter Prologue,” possibly indicating an end to the story with “Kingdom Hearts 3.”

The complete package of all three elements is expected to release on Jan. 24, 2017. Fans of the series should be pleased with the storyline that helps to fill in the gaps of Aqua’s tale and makes her feel more involved in the overall action, rather than just being lost for all those years.

It also portends her potential return for KH3 and possibly bringing all the major characters together for one last, great battle of light versus darkness for ultimate victory.